Even the most powerful medicine in the world can’t help you if you don’t remember to take it. But when you have to take pills every day, it’s easy to forget sometimes. Especially if you have more than one prescription to keep track of, as many of us do.
Fortunately, there have never been so many helpers available to remind you to take your meds. If you think a little plastic pill organizer is your only option, read on for some innovative yet easy-to-use ways of making sure you never forget your medicine again.
The solution in your pocket
Let’s start with the computer that you probably already carry around with you: your smart phone. Did you know that it’s easy to set up text-message alerts to be automatically sent to yourself when it’s medicine time? You can also find apps that will help you keep track of your pills and remind you to take them. And many phones have a built-in alarm you can program. If setting these things up intimidates you, ask a friendly teenager or the technology wonk at the office for help. Once they’re up and running, you’ll probably wonder how you ever got along without them.
Another ready-made solution: your computer, especially your office computer, may have an appointment-scheduling function or an alarm you can set on a recurring basis.
All kinds of reminders
A quick Google search for “medication reminders” turns up a fascinating assortment of products such as these:
• A talking alarm clock that reminds you to take your pills up to four times a day
• A pill box to carry in your pocket that both sounds an alarm and vibrates when it’s time for your meds—a boon if you have hearing loss or are in a noisy place
• An automatic pill dispenser that spits out the right pills at the right times, and notifies a friend or family member if you don’t take them
• Juggling several prescriptions? Avoid mix-ups with this service that packages your pills together in individual-dose packets. Just reach for the next packet from a pop-up dispenser. All the pills you need for that dose are inside, and it’s clearly labeled with the day and time when you should take them.
It’s well worth spending a little time to see what’s out there. Chances are you’ll find something that’s a good match for your needs.
Tried and true
And don’t forget about simple, low-tech ways to remind yourself of your medicine.
• Make it a habit. Take your pills every day at the same time you always do something else, like eat, walk the dog, or brush your teeth.
• Keep them in sight. Put your pills where you are bound to see them so they can give you a visual nudge.
• Pay attention. When we do something every day, it’s easy for the days to run together in our mind. Avoid missed doses and double doses by focusing each time on the act of taking your medicine and making a memorable mental note of it, such as, “Friday morning—done.”
• Ask for help. Your friends and loved ones care about you. Reach out to someone if your self-help solutions are coming up short.
As you consider ideas, think about what will continue to work for you as time goes by. For example, putting a reminder note on your refrigerator may be unlikely to help in the long run because you’re liable to get used to seeing it there and stop noticing it.
No matter how many prescription medicines you take, remember that there is an important reason for each of them. Make sure you take them exactly as prescribed without missing a dose to get the greatest benefits to your health.
To learn more about managing your medications:
Tips for Managing Multiple Medications
When to Update or Change Your Diabetes Medications
10 Tips to Avoid Deadly Medication Mistakes